Sierra Foothills Olive Oil: Fresh, local & booming

IN 1999, MONICA AND MICHAEL KELLER bought 10 acres in Loma Rica, Yuba County, and started Calolea Olive Oil. The first year they produced just 80 gallons of oil, but their timing was perfect as Californians were hungry for quality olive oil.

Now Calolea (“Cal” for California and “Olea,” or olive tree), produces 4,000 gallons on 30 acres. It has opened a tasting room in Bangor, overlooking the Sutter Buttes.

Caleola epitomizes the boom in California extra-virgin olive oil. The 2013-14 harvest (October-January, generally) is expected to reach 3.5 million gallons of high-quality oil, up nearly 50 percent from last year.

California has 400 growers and producers of olive oil. The state has 40 olive oil mills, with more under construction or expansion.

More than 30,000 acres are planted in California for the production of extra-virgin olive oil, now more acreage than table olives. It is estimated that 4,000 new acres will be planted each year in California through 2020.

The olives on the Keller’s 100-year-old Mission and Manzanillo trees are handpicked, custom milled and cold pressed within 24 hours to create the highest quality olive oil possible.

California produces less than 3 percent of the world’s olive oil, but the state’s producers are known for their fresh, high-quality blends that can be quickly transported to market.

More than 50 olive varieties are grown in California for olive oil production, resulting in unique proprietary blends.

Calolea’s hand-crafted Tuscan and Mission blends have been certified “extra virgin” by the California Olive Oil Commission. They have won numerous awards, including “Best in Show” at the Los Angeles International Olive Oil competition.

The olive oil is at SPD Market, BriarPatch Co-op and Wooden Spoon in Grass Valley, New Earth Market in Yuba City, Whole Foods Market in Roseville, Earthly Delights in the Village at Northstar.

Other locations include the Foothill Farmers Markets in Roseville, Auburn and Truckee-Tahoe, and the Nevada County Growers Market in Grass Valley.

For the first time ever, the prestigious Good Food Awards in San Francisco has added an oil category and Apollo Olive Oil of Oregon House is a finalist.

Olive Oil Health Benefits
•Lowers the risk of heart problems
•Assists with proper balance of cholesterol
•Digestive tract benefits
•Support of bone health

Source: Olive Vitality

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